Help an Adult

You can take the first step to helping someone you care about get help.

I think an adult I know needs help.

If you think something is wrong, it probably is.

Family, friends, and co-workers are often the first to notice that someone they care about is struggling with depression or bipolar disorder.

Intervening isn't always easy.

It can sometimes be difficult to know how to help – and sometimes the desire to help can be mixed with feelings of anger, frustration, or fear.

But you CAN help an adult.

You are in a strong position to make a difference. You know the person. You care about their well-being. After you learn how to offer support and encourage treatment, you will be ready to approach the person you are concerned about.

Depression symptoms you may notice

You may notice some or all of these symptoms in the adult you are concerned about. Note that they will be changes from how the person usually is.

  • Talking very negatively or expressing hopelessness
  • Acting without concern for others
  • Abusing alcohol or drugs
  • Picking fights or being irritable, critical, or mean
  • Withdrawing from family and friends
  • Having trouble at work, school, or home
  • Problems concentrating, making decisions, or remembering
  • Talking suddenly about separation or divorce
  • Complaining of physical aches and pains
  • Eating too little or too much
  • Sleeping too much or too little

Bipolar disorder symptoms you may notice

In addition to the “low” depression symptoms, you may notice the following “high” or "manic" symptoms:

  • Increased energy and decreased need for sleep
  • Excessive irritability, euphoria, or aggressive behavior
  • Increased talkativeness or speaking very quickly
  • Disconnected and racing thoughts
  • Impulsive behavior and lack of judgment such as spending sprees, erratic driving, or sexual indiscretions
  • Inflated self-esteem or unrealistic belief in own abilities (e.g., feeling superior or able to conquer anything)
  • Hyper-focused on specific activities
  • Easily distracted

Adult Depression

When an adult is depressed, get on the path to wellness as a family.

Bipolar disorder

Read how families can support loved ones living with bipolar disorder.

Family Wellness

Try our 8 self-discovery wellness activities for the whole family.